Back to Issue Sixteen.

thesaurus culture



I met a young girl today. Just the touch of her
elbow as I explained the DC metro was soft
enough to be worthwhile. I kept her there,
speaking. She had plans to visit Ghana,
my home country.  She stepped on the red line
after I acquired her number. I know these young
types. I called her to throw hues across her eyes.
The blue-green in every palm frond which swayed
across the skies that I told her a young Black
ancestor of hers once stood beneath. I told her
about a black dog that used to follow me home
from secondary school who lived for the taste
of kenke. I told her that the chartreuse avocado
bodies are soft as a stick of butter left out under
the Accra sun. She isn’t the first girl I have done
this to. We met for lunch, and I glowed for her
under lucent lights. We cooked dinner together
that same day. She tensed when I wrapped
my arms around her for too long, feeling
the way my body responded to the smell
of her scalp. She would understand if she knew
how we both had a love for words, their nuance,
their malleability. We never die, we pass; we have
not slaved, we have served; and I wasn’t forceful,
never forced myself on a woman. I am convincing.
I am dynamic. I am persuasive with every organ
of my body hard with wanting a body half my age.
I was giving the moon a break in my mouth. No
pressure to shine off that glaring sun, just my slick
tongue discovering her craters.

Xandria Phillips received her B.A. at Oberlin College in 2014 where she studied Creative Writing and Africana Studies. She is a Black queer poet as well as a Callaloo fellow, reader for Origins Literary Journal, and an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech. Her poetry has been featured in West BranchNepantla, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere.

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